Religion implies a claim to truth, and thus to authority. Yet, such power continues to be subverted, by a multitude of phenomena, by those who have less power. In the course of this semester, we want to use our colloquium and mini-course Comparative Perspectives on the Middle East to explore how the three monotheistic religions and their authority have been challenged by, and reacted to heresy, blasphemy, satire, laughter, doubt, in short, by the human imagination, or how they have been disputed by claims to alternative or ‘higher’ truths, such as scientific knowledge and political ideology.
Gottfried Hagen lecture: Blasphemy in Defense of Piety?
Dr. Rainer Bromer lecture: Apologetic and Polemic Darwinism in the Middle East
Dr. Christiane Gruber lecture: The Power and Problem of the Image: Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Traditions
Dr. Yaron Eliav lecture: Jewish Notions of Idolatry and their Function in the Religious Landscape of the Roman Mediterranean
Ambassador (Ret) Melvyn Levitsky lecture: Unintended Consequences: U.S. Cold War Policy and Afghanistan's 'Holy Warriors'
Dr. Mahdi Tourage lecture: Humor and Subversion in Persian Sufi Tradition
Dr. Webb Keane lecture: Freedom and Blasphemy: On Indonesian Press Bans and Danish Cartoons
Dr. Ryan Szpiech lecture: Hijacking Scriptures in Medieval Polemics
Dr. Elliot Ginsberg lecture: Time, Dreams and Laughter: Snapshots of the Subversive in Jewish Mystical Tradition (and its aftershocks)